- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Russian MoD: Ukrainian Training Base for Foreign Mercs Destroyed in Iskander Missile Strike - Video

© Sputnik / Stringer / Go to the mediabankThis Week in Pictures (March 3-9)
This Week in Pictures (March 3-9) - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
Russia has repeatedly warned foreign countries against allowing their citizens to travel to Ukraine in order to take part in hostilities, stressing that anyone firing at Russian troops during the special operation will be considered a valid target.
A Ukrainian training facility for foreign mercenaries has been destroyed in an Iskander missile strike, the Russian Defence Ministry stated on Friday. The ministry hasn't specified yet the location of the training centre or if any mercs were killed in the strike.
A video showing the high-precision strike has been shared by the MoD:
On 21 March, Russian troops hit yet another training centre for foreign mercenaries and Ukrainian nationalists in the Rovno region with precision-guided cruise missiles. That day, over 80 mercenaries and Ukrainian nationalists were eliminated, the MoD said.
The day before, 100 Ukrainian troops and mercenaries were killed in the Zhitomir region after the Russian armed forces launched a series of high-precision missile strikes on the training centre for covert operations forces of the Ukrainian military, where foreign mercs were based.
Prior to that, up to 180 foreign mercenaries were killed in precision strikes against Ukrainian training centres located at the Yavorovsky military compound and near the settlement of Starichi.
A serviceman of militia of Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) demonstrates flags of Ukraine and of Right Sector right-wing   radical group (banned in Russia) found in a camp of Ukrainian forces outside Mariupol, Ukraine - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.03.2022
Ukraine Says Nearly 20,000 Mercenaries En Route – But Just Who Are They?
The Russian Defence Ministry stressed that those facilities were being used to train and organise foreign mercenaries to fight Russian troops in Eastern Ukraine, as well as to store weaponry sent to the country by foreign nations.

"We will continue to target foreign mercenaries who arrive on the territory of Ukraine," Major General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the MoD, stated.

Russia has on multiple occasions urged foreign countries to prevent their citizens from travelling to Ukraine in order to join the hostilities there as the Russian Armed Forces conduct a special military operation in the country. Moscow warned that anyone attacking Russian troops will be considered a legitimate target.
In early March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that 16,000 foreign mercenaries were going to fight for Ukraine. He encouraged "anyone who wants to join the defence of Ukraine, Europe, and the world" to "come and fight side by side with Ukrainians" against the Russian military. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has promised simplified visa and entry procedures for all foreign fighters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin authorised the launch of the special military operation in Ukraine on 24 February, following a request from the newly recognised Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR). He stressed that Moscow was left with no other choice after Kiev failed to implement the Minsk agreements and had to protect the Donbass population following continued attacks by Ukrainian forces. The president said that the key goals of the op are the "demilitarisation and de-Nazification" of the neighbouring country. Western countries led by the US have condemned the operation, branding it an "invasion" and expressed a readiness to pump Ukraine with weapons, but stopped short of pledging other military assistance, citing fears of triggering World War III.
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